22 September 2023

Building services company working towards net zero

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Jack Russell, eValuate Product Manager at building services company Airmaster, talks about using ClimateClever on ICN Gateway to identify its carbon emissions and set manageable targets.

Since 1988, building services company Airmaster has been delivering environmental upgrades and energy saving initiatives to customers across the country, and recently signed up to the enterprise tier of ClimateClever to better monitor, and reduce its own climate footprint. 

According to Airmaster’s Jack Russell, Airmaster’s already strong environmental credentials, including certification for its Environmental Management System encouraged the company to want to learn more about what they can be doing themselves.  

“We always kind of felt like we were doing enough, however we found that setting and in turn meeting very specific requirements was a challenge. What are your actual carbon emissions? What is your target? What are you doing yourself? 

“We had to really dig deep to explore answers to those questions.” 

Jack first came across ClimateClever at a CitySwitch webinar when the company was looking at locally available platforms. 

“We wanted something quite simple to start off with. There were some very sophisticated solutions, but we recognised we would need significant resource to drive them effectively,” Jack said. 

“We can have the best system in the world but if you don’t have the resources to make the most of it, it’s pretty useless.” 

“We also wanted to work with a company that were specialists in this area, because naturally, there are a lot of things that we weren’t aware of.” 

ClimateClever ticked all boxes and offered an initial trial period. 

“We were able to set up one of our offices, and actually use it as a live system without having to commit to it, and that gave us a lot of confidence that it was going to be quite user friendly.” Jack said. 

The biggest challenge was inputting historical, baseline data and to work out what information was needed and why. 

“It wasn’t the product that was difficult, it was finding the raw information to put into the tools that provided a challenge,” Jack said. The ClimateClever team were very responsive. 

“Now that we’ve got that baseline, it’s much easier,” Jack said. “It’s pretty flexible and is not overly time consuming.” 

“It’s been quite a collaborative process,” he said. 

Airmaster is in the process of setting up targets, but not before mapping their emissions and understanding their priorities first and foremost. 

“Our intention is to set targets, update our environmental policy and include those and then report on performance against those targets,” Jack said. 

For example, with a fleet of 520 vehicles, switching to fully electric or hybrid vehicles would make a significant difference. A fleet upgrade, however, comes with its own issues, such as overall costs, and how to compensate our technicians using their own electricity to charge their cars.  

“We know, however, that our office electricity consumption is a far smaller factor. So we could spend money and put solar on our office buildings, but it will have smaller impact than replacing half of our fleet with hybrid,” Jack said. 

“What we’re looking to do is align our targets with the science-based target methodology, which is based on limiting global warming to one and a half degrees. 

“And that’s based upon working toward about a 42% reduction in emissions by 2030. 

“Our intended strategy is to invest in reducing our direct emissions rather than simply offsetting. Our focus is on moving towards net zero, as opposed to being carbon neutral, and then we may offset as part of that goal towards achieving our targets in the short term. “ 

One indirect benefit is the training for Airmaster’s 120 apprentices in upgrading their own facilities. 

“We’re relocating an office in New South Wales and we’re already planning to put on-site solar there,” Jack said. 

“We have completed a number of sustainability projects in recent times, we have recently installed on site solar on to one of our Queensland offices,” 

“In submetering and the continued optimisation of our own air conditioning systems, we’re hoping to integrate these upgrades as part of our apprenticeship training program as well.”   

Airmaster employs 1,200 people in 14 offices across Australia and New Zealand, and provides HVAC&R management, smart building solutions and fire services across a range of facility types including commercial office buildings, retail centres, education, healthcare, government and industrial. 

 

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